Chicken Orzo Tomato Soup

White hand dipping bread into soup
This recipe is sponsored by DeLallo

Chicken and orzo literally never fail. It can do no wrong. And make that chicken and orzo in an almost tomato soup form and you have a foolproof, everybody-likes-it dinner that is practically SOS-level easy.

This soup is a pantry essential with just a few ingredients coming straight out of the cupboards: tomato paste, garlic, broth, and orzo. And this is one of those cases where simplicity just wins.

Chicken orzo soup in a bowl with a spoon

The Flavor Of This Soup

This chicken orzo tomato soup can be a little bit of a chameleon – you can give it the flavors that you like. You build the base by caramelizing tomato paste and garlic (idea coming from a recipe in a Milkstreet cookbook!) and you can spice to your heart’s delight. I like to stay in the mainstream flavor zone for this one with Italian seasoning (almost has a pizza-like flavor to it with the tomato paste and garlic), but I feel like smoked paprika or other more zippy herbs could also be successful. The version I was inspired by in the Milkstreet cookbook had mint as one of the herbs! I wasn’t quite ready for the mint jump, but I’m just saying, you have options. Let the spirit lead!

In This Post: Everything You Need For Chicken Orzo Soup

My Preferred Orzo

I consistently use DeLallo orzo – it is made IN ITALY and it’s bronze cut, which gives it unparalleled texture. It’s available in both semolina and whole wheat varieties, which is just really wonderful. Whole wheat orzo can be almost impossible to find, so if you’re looking for a stock-up, DeLallo is your place.

We’ve worked with DeLallo forEVER and we love their products.

Package of orzo pasta next to a bowl of soup

The Pesto Bread Dip Situation

Let it be known that I am a big fan of homemade pesto here, and I find that the best way to do things is to first dunk your bread in the pesto (it’s thick, flavorful, and delicious) and then dunk your pesto-ed bread into the soup. SO GOOD.

Fresh flavor in every nook and cranny.

I still have a bunch of basil left in my garden that is nearing the end of its life (aka winter is coming), so I am excited to be making a bunch of pesto right now. And the flavor – ugh. It’s so fresh and so good. I was licking the remnants of it right out of the food processor.

This recipe is so easy that I promise this extra step won’t feel like too much.

Variations On This Chicken Orzo Soup

Few ideas if you want to play around with it:

  • Get some wilted greens right up in the soup!
  • Try white beans in addition to (or instead of) chicken.
  • Reduce the broth and use ground Italian sausage for your protein – think Hamburger Helper but Italian style and homemade. Yum.
  • Omit any additional protein at all and just serve it like a spaghetti-o’s old school bowl of soup! Truly so magical.
  • Use cashew cream instead of heavy cream.
  • Add some pureed roasted red peppers for a red pepper flavor.

What To Serve With This

I mean, bread is a given. A take-and-bake loaf is great – but if you want to make your own, you need to try this No-Knead Miracle Bread.

Salad is nice – just something to really make this into a real you-pick-two lunch or dinner situation. And yes, once again, I would recommend the Simple Green Salad that goes with everything.

And if you want to go all-out with your veggies, Liz’s Roasted Broccoli Salad is legitimately exciting every single time.

Chicken orzo soup in a bowl with a spoon

This soup is cozy and comforting, easy and crowd-pleasing, and kind of just a love letter to all things simple and uncomplicated. Thank you, chicken and orzo!

Chicken Orzo Soup: Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make this soup vegetarian-friendly?

Easy! Just sub a can of white beans instead of the chicken and use veggie broth.

How do I make my own pesto?

Just blitz 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste), 1 cup packed basil leaves, and 1 cup packed other greens, like spinach (!), in a food processor until it makes crumbles; drizzle in about 1/4 cup olive oil until it comes together into a sauce. Finish with a bunch of lemon juice and you’re good to go!

How can I make my own bread for lots of delicious bread dips?

The very best (and incredibly easy!) bread recipe can be found here!

White hand dipping bread into soup

Chicken Orzo Tomato Soup

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


This soup is the perfect ode to fall! Chicken meets orzo in an almost tomato soup form plus lots of bread dips, of course. Let’s go! 


  • 2 tablespoons DeLallo Private Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
  • 1/4 cup DeLallo Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup DeLallo Orzo Pasta
  • 2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken (I use the pulled meat from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 12 cups water as desired
  • parmesan, herbs, red pepper flakes, and lemon for serving
  • bread for serving
  • pesto for serving (optional – recipe in notes)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium high heat. (See notes on types of pan to use!) Add the garlic; sauté for 1-2 minutes until soft and fragrant but not browned.
  2. Add the tomato paste and Italian seasoning; cook until it becomes caramelized and turns a deep red color, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broth gradually until the mixture incorporates into a smooth liquid. This is a good time to add salt; I recommend tasting the liquid to see how much salt it needs depending on how salty your broth was. Otherwise just add 1/2 teaspoon to start, and add from there.
  4. Add the orzo and bring the whole thing to a simmer for about 10 minutes until the orzo is soft. If needed, add a cup more of water and/or broth to get your desired consistency. Stir in heavy cream.
  5. Add the chicken and squeeze in a bunch of lemon juice to wake the whole thing up.
  6. Serve topped with Parmesan, herbs, red pepper flakes, and hot crusty bread. If you want, serve with a little side of pesto for dipping the bread in before dunking in the soup. YUM. So good!


I recommend using a nonstick pan for this – you can also use a Dutch oven or another type of pan, but you’ll need to stir periodically so that the orzo doesn’t stick. If the only nonstick you have is a large-ish sauté pan, I would use that! 

For the pesto, I blitz 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste), 1 cup packed basil leaves, and 1 cup packed other greens, like spinach (!), in a food processor until it makes crumbles; then I drizzle in about 1/4 cup olive oil until it comes together into a sauce. Finish with a bunch of lemon juice and you’re good to go! Perfect bread-and-soup dunking companion.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian-Inspired

Keywords: orzo soup, chicken soup, chicken orzo soup

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Thanks to DeLallo for sponsoring this recipe!

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